Former Blaine Gander Mountain May Become Family Entertainment Center

May 21, 2018 08:10 PM

With big box stores across the Twin Cities closing, cities are hoping for creative ways to fill the empty space.

The city of Blaine is considering a plan to turn the former Gander Mountain store on Highway 65 into a family entertainment center.


RELATED: Toys R Us, Hobbled by Competition, Will Shutter 180 Stores

Jim and Marilyn Webber hope to open Fun Lab. The center would have virtual reality, laser tag, bumper cars, climbing wall, old school arcade games, and a restaurant.

"I think it's going to do really well here," Jim Webber said.

Real estate experts say developers are thinking outside the box to fill empty big box stores.

"Retail has changed and they don't need as much space anymore," Herb Tousley, Director of Real Estate Programs at the University of St. Thomas said. "Big box stores are usually shaped as such that it's a little more challenging to find some kind of an alternate user but that's what a lot of people are doing now, coming up with these unconventional users for these old big box stores." 

Some empty big box stores have turned into churches and fitness centers. 

The Blaine City Council will vote on the Fun Lab project next month.


Joe Mazan

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